Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 9/30 & 10/1

Saturday begins the month of October. Who remembers when October was called Country Music Month? I can remember all the local radio stations playing it up big, and the CMA Awards always taking place during the month. The Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's birthday and there was the Disc Jockey convention, where all the local DJs would come to town to meet the stars. Well, times have changed. The CMA Awards are now held in November (sweeps month for television), the Disc Jockey convention is no more and Country Music Month is a thing of the past. All that is left is the Opry's annual birthday bash, which takes place next weekend, and even that is almost a thing of the past as it really is no longer a special weekend. 

What October does bring is a return to two Saturday night Opry shows, which will start this weekend and continue into December. In looking at the line-ups for the Saturday night shows, they are identical with the exception of The Whites scheduled for just the first show and Bobby Osborne for only the late show. Personally, I don't understand why those Opry members are not scheduled for both. I am sure somewhere there is a reason why. The Opry members who are scheduled for both Saturday shows, and who are also scheduled for the Friday Night Opry, are Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, John Conlee, Connie Smith and Riders In The Sky. The only additional Opry members will be Diamond Rio, who will close out the Friday night show. 

Guesting on all three shows will be Shenandoah. It seems like since they re-emerged earlier this year, they have made the Opry a regular stop. Joining that group on Friday will be Jaida Dreyer, Jimmy Wayne, Ashley Campbell, Collin Raye and J2B2, otherwise known as the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band. Saturday's guest, besides Shenandoah, include JT Hodges, Jessie James Decker, Jonathan Jackson and The Isaacs. 

Friday September 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jaida Dreyer; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jimmy Wayne; Shenandoah
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Ashley Campbell; Collin Raye
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); J2B2(John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band); Diamond Rio

Saturday October 1
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); JT Hodges; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Shenandoah; The Whites
8:00: Connie Smith (host); Jessie James Decker; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jonathan Jackson; The Isaacs

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); JT Hodges; Mike Snider
10:00: John Conlee (host); Shenandoah; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:30: Connie Smith (host); Jessie James Decker; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jonathan Jackson; The Isaacs

I am going to assume that Pete Fisher will read the dedication and tribute to Jean Shepard before the show on Saturday night. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of September 30 & October 1, 2011:

Friday September 30
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Lonesome River Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; The McClymonts
8:15: The Whites (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; Josh Kelley
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); T.G. Sheppard; Exile

Saturday October 1
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jason Jones
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Sarah Darling
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; James Wesley; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Laura Bell Bundy; T.G. Sheppard

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jason Jones
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Grand Master Fiddle Champion; Sarah Darling
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; James Wesley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Laura Bell Bundy; T.G. Sheppard

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of September 29 & 30, 2011:

Friday September 29
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jennifer Hanson
8:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; The Isaacs
9:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Riders In The Sky
9:30: Trace Adkins (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Johnny Lee

Saturday September 30
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Ray Scott
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Grascals; Rhonda Vincent; Cherryholmes
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mandy Barnett
10:00: John Conlee (host); Ray Scott; Rhonda Vincent
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Cherryholmes
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Grascals

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday September 28, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Bill Carlisle; Charlie Walker; The Whites
7:30: Tom T Hall (host); Jim & Jesse; Sawyer Brown
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Louvin; Jean Shepard; Ferlin Husky; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman

2nd show
9:30: Jack Greene (host); Ernie Ashworth; Ray Pillow; Sawyer Brown
10:00: Tom T Hall (host); Jeannie Seely
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites
10:45: Osborne Brothers (host); Charlie Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Justin Tubb; Jim & Jesse; Bill Carlisle
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Charlie Louvin

On a final note, let's go back 50 years to Saturday October 1, 1966:

7:30: Luzianne
Bobby Lord (host): Out Behind the Barn
Willis Brothers: Tumbling Tumbleweed
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Bobby Lord: Lonely Street
Jim Nesbitt: Heck of a Fix in 66
Willis Brothers: Private Lee
Margie Bowes: Overnight
Bobby Lord: Hawkeye

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Mama, You've Been on My Mind
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore
Dottie West: Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy
Lonzo & Oscar: Mountain Dew
Flatt & Scruggs: Call Me on Home, Too
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Earl Scruggs: Home Sweet Home

8:30: Stephens
Wilburn Brothers (host): It's Another World
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough
Jim & Jesse: Don't Let Nobody Tie You Down
Archie Campbell: Hey, Waiter
Wilburn Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Stu Phillips: Faded Love
Loretta Lynn: Two Mules Pull this Wagon
Wilburn Brothers & Loretta Lynn: Put It Off Until Tomorrow

9:00: Pet Milk
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
The Browns: I'd Just Be Fool Enough
Connie Smith: The Hurting's All Over
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Roy Acuff: The End of the World
The Browns: I Keep Coming Back to You
Connie Smith: Nobody But A Fool
Oswald: Roll On Buddy

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabammy Bound
Pete Sayers: The Little Stream of Whiskey
Chubby Wise: Peacock Rag
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
Bill Price: Are You Lonely Without Me
Willis Brothers: Diamonds on Your Hands
Hank Snow: Breakfast With the Blues

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): The Good Things
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make a Woman Lose Her Mind
Del Wood: Big Daddy
Flatt & Scruggs: Cabin on the Hill

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Greenback Dollar
Archie Campbell: Scarlet Ribbons
Onie Wheeler: I'm Just A Beggar for Your Love
Roy Acuff: Glory's Coming

10:30: Harvey's
Jim & Jesse (host): I'll Wear the Banner
Dottie West: Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy
Bobby Thompson: Sugarfoot Rag
Wilburn Brothers: In God's Eyes

10:45: Newport
Wilburn Brothers (host): I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
Loretta Lynn: Happy Birthday
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Count Down
The Browns: The 3 Bells
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile
Lonzo & Oscar: Country Music Time
Sam McGee: Wheels
The Browns: I Keep Coming Back to You
Hank Snow: I've Been Everywhere

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Ribbon of Darkness
Connie Smith: Invisible Tears
Pete Sayers: The Man Who Never Returned
Don Winters: Chime Bells
Marty Robbins: The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight
Connie Smith: I'll Be There
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Singing the Blues/Devil Woman

There are a couple of names from that night that many fans may not recognize. One is Jim Nesbitt. Jim was born on December 1, 1931 and passed away on November 29, 2007. He recorded for Dot and Chart Records with his biggest hit being "Looking for More in 64" which went to #7 on the charts. He seemed to have a thing about putting the year in his song titles, as he recorded "Still Alive in 65," "Heck of a Fix in 66," "Clean the Slate in 68," and "Having Fun in 71." As you can guess, his songs had a bit of comedy in them. His last recordings took place in 1975. 

Bobby Thompson was considered a brilliant, innovative banjo player and rhythm guitarist. While his name was not widely known, his playing was heard by millions. Bobby was born in Converse, South Carolina in 1937 and was just past 20 when he participated in the "epochal" late 1950s Starday recordings of Jim & Jesse, "epochal" in part because they included, especially on the instrumentals "Border Ride" and "Dixie Hoedown," the first recorded glimmerings of what would become an alternative to the foundational bluegrass banjo style of Earl Scruggs. Vic Jordan and Bela Fleck are two future banjo players that followed Bobby's lead. Earl Scruggs said, "I think Thompson has done a lot for the banjo. He was the first one to play that style of banjo that I ever heard. And there has never been anyone to top him." Later in life, Bobby was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. While he spent many years working with Jim & Jesse, Bobby was known as a great session player and was also part of the staff band on Hee Haw. He joined fellow session players like Charlie McCoy and Weldon Myrick to create Area Code 615, which recorded two albums that meshed country, rock, bluegrass and more. The group was featured on several television shows, including "The Johnny Cash Show." Bobby passed away in 2005.

The final name of interest was that of Pete Sayers. Pete was from England, born in 1942. He was known as a singer and multi-talented musician. He was also a trained piano repairer. In 1966, he was the host of a television program, "Tyne-Tees Television." He also appeared with US singer Johnny Duncan and his Blue Grass Boys. That same year, he came to American and was employed as a warm-up artist for the Grand Ole Opry, often appearing on the show itself. He also hosted a morning show and toured with Kitty Wells and Flatt & Scruggs. In 1972 he returned to England and began promoting country music shows, later working tours with George Hamilton IV when George appeared in England. Peter passed away in 2005. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Im a little bit disappointed about the Opry's tribute to Jean Shepard. I didnt really like that it was only mentioned on Saturday, when previous opry deaths have been given a tribute on both friday AND saturday. Im not sure who Dan Rogers is, but he did a very nice speech about Jean. However, it really saddens me that Pete Fisher didnt do it. He didn't present her with the anniversary award in 2015, and didnt even say anything about Jean after she died. Even though she made it clear about her opinions about opry management, she was still a very popular and dependable regular. Whatever hard feelings he had towards her seems to have remained after her death. If this was how things were done for jean shepard's farewell, I can only wonder what the Opry management will do when Stonewall Jackson dies. Will there even be a farewell to him?

    An Opry legend, hall of famer, and trailblazer for women in music like Jean was deserved better from the show she dedicated 60 consecutive years to.

    Well, thats my 2 cents worth.

    1. Kyle, to be fair, it's possible that Fisher was sick or on vacation tonight. But there's no excuse for his not presenting the award, unless Jean made clear she didn't want him around--which she was capable of doing!

      Also, I think there was some feeling between her and Jimmy Dickens over the claims that he had been with the Opry for more than 60 years when he hadn't been--he wasn't a member for an 18-year period. Knowing how close Fisher was to him, I wonder if he took sides, which would be inexcusable.

    2. I do believe that Jean had her views and opinions regarding Pete Fisher. I can remember the night of Jean's 50th anniversary and when Pete came out to give Jean her award, she asked if he was going to fire her. And she made no secret of the fact that she resented the attention Jimmy Dickens received on his later anniversaries, as she did point out many times that Jimmy left the show for 18 years, and then she would point to others who had been with the show longer and did not receive the recognition, specifically Charlie Louvin.

      As for Dan Rogers, the last I saw he was listed as the Grand Ole Opry's senior marketing manager and director of communication. He is also the co-author of the "Backstage at the Opry" book. He is very involved in the Opry and on the nights that Pete is not there, Dan is usually running the show. I thought Dan did a nice job with the tribute on Saturday night.

    3. I hope your right Michael. Otherwise that's really sad. Bob

  2. I was in the Opry House for the first show Saturday night and did not see Pete Fisher anywhere on the side of the stage during the show so I'd assume he was gone. I thought Eddie Stubbs held the moment of silence for a long time and it was extremely touching when Jeannie Seely sang Slipping Away they scrolled photos of Jean through the years on the barn. I will say I was disappointed there was no dedication in the Opry program like in years past. I was also disappointed there was no extra effort to recruit some more Opry stars do take part in a tribute (especially when there was an open slot on Connie Smiths portion). I was secretly hoping they'd bring out Jan Howard to sing with Connie & Jeannie as the Grand Ladies the way they all sang the week after Minnie Pearl. And hope against hope maybe they could have gotten Jeanne Pruett to come sing since I saw video of her at Jean's funeral. Just seemed like they could have done something extra special after 60 years of membership. Side note: Bill Anderson was originally scheduled but was not on the lineup when it came out when also saw him at Jeans service. And two other notes: 1) Connie really mangled the intro of Jesse James Decker first calling her a man then calling her Jesse James Parker twice 2) Buck White had to be prompted by Sharon on what song they were playing and on the words. It occurred to me that behind Jan and Jesse he's probably the oldest member. Time flies! (Oldtimeopry)